Opinion: Investigate Russia, not a conspiracy theory

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There have been quite a few newsworthy events in the past few days, from the Republican healthcare plan being released, to the new travel ban. But these things have been overshadowed by another far more ridiculous event.

On Saturday morning President Trump let out a series of tweets claiming that former President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower before the election. This insane claim was made without any evidence — it’s a conspiracy theory being pushed by Breitbart — prompting the Republican FBI director, James Comey, to ask the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump’s claim.

“The highly charged claim is false and must be corrected,” Comey said.

It wasn’t just Comey speaking out against these false claims, either. The former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, denied these claims on Meet The Press last Sunday. When asked by Chuck Todd if a wiretapping of Trump Tower was authorized, which would have to go through Clapper, Clapper said, “I can deny it”.

Despite high ranking officials in the Intelligence Community denying these claims by President Trump, it seems that GOP lawmakers want to further investigate this claim, wasting taxpayer dollars.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s surrogates have been engaging in a media blitz, trying to spin this conspiracy theory as an investigation on whether or not Obama overused or abused the powers of the presidency.

What makes all of this absolutely absurd is that the GOP is doing little investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, despite an astonishing amount of evidence that President Trump and his campaign staff have ties to Russia. Not to mention the Intelligence Community agrees that Russia meddled in the election specifically to help Trump win.

The continued findings that people working close to President Trump have various ties with Russian officials is something that must be investigated. From Jeff Sessions last week, Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn, and Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, there is a lot of suspicious activity that may pose a threat to our democracy and it needs to be investigated.

Yet the GOP seems to think that all of this doesn’t warrant a closer look. On a strict party line vote, Republicans shot down a resolution that would request the DOJ provide Congress with records relating to “criminal or counterintelligence investigations” dealing with President Trump’s ties to Russia.

At a certain point there needs to be a realization of country over party in the GOP. I understand that President Trump is pushing a Republican agenda and he arguably helped Republicans gain control of Congress, both of which are great for the party. But this man has clear ties with a foreign government that the Republican party had a 10% favorable view of until recently.

If the shoe was on the other foot and Barack Obama had won the presidency with the help of a foreign government, he would be Impeached within seconds. This hypocrisy and willingness to put party over country isn’t just insane, it’s disgusting.

Kyler Jackson is a sophomore in political science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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